Depression Health (cont.)

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When to Seek Medical Care

If you feel that you are depressed, you may wish to talk about your feelings with a family member or a close friend. Communication is one of the keys to early diagnosis and treatment. People close to you may have felt you were depressed. With their encouragement, you should call your health-care provider.

If you feel someone else is depressed, talk to the person.

  • You may notice a person showing the signs of depression mentioned under Symptoms. If you observe feelings of worthlessness, excessive guilt, hopelessness, or any warning signs that the individual is having suicidal thoughts, contact a health-care provider immediately.
  • With mild or moderately severe symptoms of short duration (weeks), it may be reasonable to contact a health-care provider for an appointment.
  • It is often helpful to accompany a family member or friend to the medical office and offer support as needed.
  • If the person has severe symptoms, cannot care for himself or herself, or is threatening to harm himself or herself, seek immediate treatment in a hospital emergency department.

After you are diagnosed with depression, your health-care provider will usually want you to be in frequent contact. You (or your family) may need to contact your primary-care provider, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental-health professional if any of these events occur:

  • You are experiencing any unexpected or serious medication side effects.
  • You start any new medication.
  • You develop additional symptoms of depression, particularly if those symptoms are severe or develop rapidly.
  • You feel that you are having setbacks and your present therapy is ineffective.
  • You continue to suffer from bouts of anxiety and depression.
  • You have trouble coping with your feelings and are starting to feel as if you are losing control.

Although health-insurance restrictions have resulted in hospitalizations occurring less frequently than in years past, hospitalization may be necessary with severe depression. You may choose to come to the hospital for evaluation, or your family or friends may need to bring you to the hospital for evaluation in these circumstances:

  • You have thoughts of hurting yourself.
  • You have thoughts of hurting someone else.
  • You are no longer able to care for yourself.
  • You refuse to follow through with important treatment recommendations, such as taking your medication.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/8/2014

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